Teenager who Shot at Lake County Law Enforcement a Person of Interest in Father’s Disappearance, Volusia Deputies Say

MOUNT DORA, Florida—The teenager who fled Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Mount Dora Police Officers before firing shots at them on Donnelly Street is a person of interest in the disappearance of his father, according to the Volusia Sheriff’s Office (VSO.)

VSO was searching for Johnny Santiago, 18, after receiving a call from Santiago’s mother, who was in New York, shortly after 11 p.m. Sunday. The woman said she was on the phone with her husband, Juan Santiago, 52, when she heard him arguing with Johnny. She heard a loud noise and the phone disconnected. She has not spoken to him since, VSO said.

VSO responded to the home at 899 East Lehigh Drive, Deltona and found no one was home and the white Ford F-150 Johnny was known to drive was also missing. VSO deputies spotted the truck in nearby DeBary, but it fled, in addition to fleeing from Sanford Police after the truck left Volusia County.

VSO issued nationwide and regional BOLOs (be on the lookout) for the truck; LCSO Lt. John Herrell told Inside Lake LCSO received information the truck may be headed to Lake County and LCSO utilized its helicopter, Eagle One, in the search.

“We were looking for that vehicle,” Herrell said.

Eagle One found the truck near the corner of U.S. Highway 441 and Eudora Road and deputies attempted to pull him over around 4:45 p.m. He fled south on U.S. Highway 441 to Limit Avenue and fired at pursuing deputies and Mount Dora Police officers. The truck fled south on Donnelly Street before crashing into Traditional Congregation of Mount Dora, a synagogue located at 848 North Donnelly Street, where he opened fire on deputies and officers. Two deputies and one MDPD officer returned fire, Herrell said.

Johnny Santiago then exited the vehicle and laid down, where deputies and officers rendered aid to him, Herrell said. He was airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center and is expected to survive.

PHOTO: Marilyn M. Aciego/Inside Lake

The shooting in under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the two deputies are on administrative leave, both standard procedures in deputy-involved shootings.

Johnny Santiago is facing numerous charges in Lake County, including three counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, aggravated fleeing and eluding and shooting from a vehicle. Other charges are possible, Herrell said. He has been booked into the Orange County Jail and is being held on no bond. His mugshot was not available at press time.

Juan Santiago is still missing, and VSO continues to investigate his disappearance.

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